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Friday, May 7, 2010

Core Values in Successful Entrepreneur: An Evaluation of Islamic Dimensions towards the Formation of Ummah Tranquility


Salam kepada pembaca, satu lagi artikel yang sedut daripada hasil kertas kerja yang telah dibentangkan pada satu seminar.Semoga ia memberi manfaat khususnya kepada golongan usahawan muslim insyallah.


Generally, the core values that need to be owned by entrepreneurs are complementary to become successful entrepreneurs. Islam has its own opinion in analyzing this issue. Syari`at Islam (Islamic Law) gives awards to people who is working hard to develop a civilization to human happiness and survival institutions. Regarding the world of entrepreneurship, entrepreneurs claimed to inhabit natural resources with the capacity and capability awarded by Allah SWT. Based on this view, entrepreneurs must empower themselves with the values of expertise (value added) which is complementary to the completeness characteristics of successful entrepreneurs. This is because; entrepreneurs who face various obstacles and barriers should always be ready to compete globally which requires specific skills in an effort to sharpen their levels of efficiency themselves.

Claims to entrepreneurs to understand and appreciate the stated values expressed indirectly in the Qur'an as Allah says:

"Verily in the creation of the heavens and the earth; and (at) the changes of night and day, and (in) ships that sail in the sea with useful things to mankind; also the rain which Allah sends down from the sky and He revives the earth after her death, and He hath dispersed therein from various types of animals; thus also (in) wind circulation and floating clouds between the heaven and the earth, indeed (in that it is) exist signs of his power, for people who understand. "
(Al-Baqarah: 164)

In these verses, Wahbah al-Zuhaily 1 submitted views that God commanded man to sharpen his mind in the sense to reveal the nature and benefits contained. This is because the need to think creatively and act based on innovation is part of the mechanism to advance mankind in order to enjoy and thankful what God has conferred. Therefore, guided from the Qur'an verses, the entrepreneurs should take appropriate initiative and be pro-active in developing this natural creativity that has been awarded to them by God. Skills values such as innovation, create opportunities, take risks, courage, high spirit, quality concern and many more needs to be as an intrinsic value in entrepreneurs. Without these values, the Muslim entrepreneurs will be sluggish, static and rigid either from the aspect of mentality, actions and also from the vision to develop a society.

Core Values of a Successful Entrepreneur

Western scholar such as Geoffrey G. Meredith agrees with the view stated that successful entrepreneurs have a unique value compared with others. He outlines the characteristics values such as self-confidence, task-oriented, risk-taking, administrative charisma, innovation, creative and visionary are the value added elements in successful entrepreneurs. Other scholars such as M. Scarborough and Thomas W.Zimmerer in their studies found that characteristics of the underlying values such as pro-active, initiative, performance-oriented, efficient, quality priority, monitoring, high commitment is the key success of a business.

Derived from the explanation, it can be understood that skills values are based on the system value integrated in entrepreneur’s value system. Suryana stated that within the scope of entrepreneurship, values known as the primary value system can be seen through the character and behavior of entrepreneurs. For example, a good intrinsic value in working with entrepreneurs such as diligent, prioritize performance, courage, take risks, prioritize productivity, creative and innovative, work quality, commitment and ability to detect opportunities are the special values for entrepreneurs.
Briefly, based on discussions that have been described, core values include the following elements:

I. Creative and Innovation

Creativity and innovation is the value needed in any successful entrepreneurs. Creative skills in entrepreneurs are the key factors that differentiate them with others. In other words, creative entrepreneurs can be understood as an individual who has creativity in creating ideas and to produce new methods concerning the existing problems and opportunities. This is because; entrepreneurs not only running business activities but they also manipulate all the available resources optimally in order to maximize productivity effectively. As a result, it will help entrepreneurs to develop new ideas to find the best methods in viewing problems and opportunities .

Innovation value is the ability of the entrepreneurs to apply the creative ideas towards problems and opportunities in order to improve productivity and performance. Western scholar such as Drucker gives the definition of innovation as a function of particular value in an entrepreneur. It acts as a tool to entrepreneurs to create new resources to produce wealth or added value to the existing potential sources for the purpose of creating wealth. Entrepreneurs who have such values have a tendency to solve problems critically and explore opportunities that exist to inhabit human life in harmony.
Islamic teachings also urged its followers, especially to the entrepreneurs to give priority to creativity value and innovation within the framework of mu`amalah. Allah SWT has awarded various sources for the continuity of human life. However, the general scale indicated that it cannot accommodate the needs of human perfectly if the results are not manipulated optimally. Therefore, it is the role and duties of entrepreneurs to apply the value of creative and innovation on themselves to help solving some of the requirements needed by the community. In fact, Islam gives the recognition that creative and innovative is the value of quality in entrepreneur.

This matter is emphasized through the Word of Allah in the Qur'an which means:

"He has made the earth easy to use by you, then proceeded around sides, and eat of that wherewith Allah; and (remember) to Allah you shall be raised alive again."
(Al-Mulk: 15)

Allah S.W.T. calls all human kinds to work hard and get the benefit from the awarded provision throughout the earth. The given provision has broader meaning as understood by humans. This is because, the meaning of provision is not only the property owned by a person to meet the needs and glitter, but it includes an entrusted purpose by God on the earth that is the way and the provision content. At the same time, entrepreneurs should be alert and always foresee the sources awarded by Allah from the innovative perspective so it could be exploited in accordance with the requirements of syara` and public interest.
Therefore, as Muslim entrepreneur, they should emphasize creativity and innovation values in business activities. Based on the values, it can stimulate their beyond thinking associated with the current mechanism and encourage research activities to obtain current and dynamic discovery. Furthermore, in entrepreneur modern reality world, Muslim entrepreneurs need to create and grab opportunities that exist in various areas of the Muslim community such as in the areas of food, agricultural, medical, construction, industrial, design and others to provide effective leadership to the field.

Hence, a successful entrepreneur is an individual who has a mindset and have the ability to produce something new. In addition, they also have the ability to add value to existing things using the latest methods to meet the needs of human present condition. Energetic behavior and the creative and innovation value in entrepreneurs will successful in giving impact and positive contribution to the society and the country. For these interests, the stated values assessed as a necessary dominant value to successful entrepreneurs.

II. Ability to Manage

Islam regards that successful entrepreneurs need to be complete with the values as managers and have the charisma as leaders. It also urged its followers to give attention to the effective management and strategic planning priority. This understanding is stated in the Qur'an which means:
"We made among them leaders, guiding people to our religion, for their patient and they remain confident of our verses."
(al-Sajadah: 24)

Ibn Kathir in commenting on the verse explains that Allah S.W.T. made the leaders who call people to the way of truth, obey Allah, to call for ma’ruf and prevent dishonor. With their patience in implementing the order, and avoid the ban and completely believes with faith-based the contents of revelation, He has given a strong leader who became leader of his people.

According to al-Sunnah, many hadiths which mentioned about leaders such as the words of the Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. means:

"From al-Hasan RA, said:" One day, 'Ubaidullah bin Ziyad came to visit the homes of Ma'qil bin Yasar, when Ma'qil sick causing his death. Ma'qil said to ‘ Ubaidullah, "I'll say to you a hadith which I heard from Rasullullah S.A.W, Had I believe that I will live longer, this Hadith will not presented to you.” I heard the Messenger of Rasulullah S.A.W. said: "A slave who is trusted by Allah to led the people, but he deceived the people, so if he dies, Allah forbid the Paradise for him."

In another history, with the meaning:

From 'Auf bin Malik R.A, from the Prophet Muhammad S.A.W, he said: "Imam (leader) the best are those who love you and you love them, they pray for you and you pray for them. Imam of the most immoral (evil) is that you hate and they hate you, you cursed them and they curse you. "Someone asked," Ya, Allah! Can we remove them with the sword?" Rasulullah S.A.W reply, "No, as long as they still pray with you. When you see an action (prudence) which is not good from your leader, please critic his actions, and do not avoid disobeying (of his good action)."

Based on the submitted evidences, it was clearly distinguished that people who became messengers of Allah on earth were given the responsibility as leaders, regulators, administrators to the universe. To implement these functions, human were the stimulus to all resources and tools in an organization. Human placed as leaders, administrators and others, managed human resources in order to process the natural resources that can be used together. However, as a leader, the individual must bear responsibility for what is done. This is because, in the event of misconduct and elements of deviation, punishment from Allah S.W.T will be given later on.

According to Muhammad Salleh Majid, entrepreneurs as an efficient manager will combine management skills towards achieving clear objectives. At this stage, entrepreneurs implementing their work based on task-oriented decisions. Often, they make decisions based on their own deliberations. As a smart manager, he has the ability to influence the subordinates to perform work activities as targeted. A good manager is an individual who successfully created conducive work culture environment and able to manage human resources to support and work efficiently and productively. In other words, the values of good leadership are the individual that successfully integrate the value of leader and educate people around him with an efficient work culture and instill appreciation values as an exemplary Muslim. Therefore, a successful entrepreneur always thinks about steps and strategies that should be used for managers in organizations in order to be a good leader. This is because entrepreneurs who have the values of exemplary leadership, smart in modifying the existing strengths and weaknesses by looking at the opportunities and competition faced. At the same time, it also has the ability to use creative techniques to create new value for the customers' needs which is unsurpassed by other competitors.

III. Future-Oriented

In this context, Islam gives space to entrepreneurs to act positively to stimulate the performance of activities they do. In fact, Islam encourages entrepreneurs to be far-sighted to create and take advantage of this nature for other human needs. They are given freedom by syara` to exploit all the grace of Allah S.W.T. and processed it in syara’ manner to benefit all beings. Based on the above conditions, Allah S.W.T. appeal to people to be open-minded and do good things to develop life with more dynamic and be full of creativity is an admirable thing. This matter is emphasized by Allah S.W.T. in al-Quran which means:
"Allah created the heavens and the earth with truth; indeed that is a sign for believers."

(al-`Ankabut: 44)

The above verse explained that Allah created the heavens and the earth with various wisdoms as His greatness to the believers. Only those who have a broad understanding can only learn from the guidance of Allah.

Successful entrepreneurs are individuals who have a vision and far-sighted. They think positively and work hard to achieve their goals. These entrepreneurs never are in comfort zone with the achievement; otherwise continue to enhance the competitive performance. They always think to create and discover something new for the public interest. Although entrepreneurs are facing various risks and challenges, it is not a pushing-factor for them to continue to strive and create economic opportunities, vice-versa.

These characteristics build a resistance to entrepreneurs to continue to explore and manipulate available resources around them. These groups also foresee the potential as seen by others as a problem or who had never thought by others as an opportunity for them to create a new value. Hence, a successful entrepreneur is more interested and attracted to seize the opportunity from a problem thought by the public.

IV. Motivated

Entrepreneurs who are successful have a high spirit and a desire to excel and meet the outlined goals. To meet these goals, motivation is the internal value which drives the performance enhancement among entrepreneurs and to work consistently and accommodate the various weaknesses and obstacles encountered. In general, entrepreneurs who are driven by high motivation values often think positive and have self-initiated with the activities which benefit themselves and society. Explanation regarding the importance of motivation value in entrepreneurs according to Islamic perspective detailed as follows:

A. Knowledgeable

Successful entrepreneurs are always sensitive to the needs of themselves and surroundings. To ensure that entrepreneurs are not left behind in the aspect of management, global developments and requirements of society, they should strive to empower themselves with knowledge, skills, systematic planning, resolving conflict intelligently, organizing strategies, marketing techniques and others need to knowledge base. Based on this fundamental importance, knowledge becomes an important value to entrepreneurs which are typically motivated them to excel in every field. According to Ahmad Berek , outstanding entrepreneurs always encouraging themselves to work hard and will not stop learning new things. Through knowledge, entrepreneurs will quickly express their ideas to develop the field of entrepreneurship.

Hence, according to Islam, led to its followers particularly entrepreneurs, should consistently learn to improve the performance of the work done. For the purpose of motivating people in gaining knowledge for the continuity of human civilization, Allah S.W.T. has placed a high position for the knowledgeable. Human dignity based on the knowledge owned has been described with many verses in the Qur'an. Among the verses related to the issues are:
"Allah will raise those who believe among you, and also rank those who have knowledge. And Allah is Aware of what you do"
(al-Mujadalah: 11)

Ibn Kathir interprets based on the hadith narrated by Ahmad, Muslim and others that Allah S.W.T. raised the rank of scripture and hold down several other advantages. Only with knowledge, people can sharpen his mind and instill in his action.

As principle, human always require knowledge. With knowledge, human can develop the existing potential and benefit all the honors conferred on him.

This information can also be seen by notification in the Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. sunnah, such as the words which means:

"Abu Musa, R.A, reported that Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. said: "Parable of guidance and knowledge, that God sent me to deliver, such as heavy rain fell to earth. There is a fertile Earth, sucking water, grow plants, and a lot of grass. There is also a hard, do not suck up water, He gave him the benefit of mankind. They can drink and give drink (cattle, etc.), and for agricultural cultivation. And there is rain that falls in other parts, such as on the ground that neither is not stagnant water nor grows grass. That is the likeness of those who study religion, who want to take advantage of what I asked Allah to convey, learned and teach. And so is the likeness of those who do not want to think about and take care with the guidance of Allah that I sent to convey. "
In the context of entrepreneurship, knowledge search is part of the important values that should be appreciated by entrepreneurs. The combination of knowledge, skills and experiences in an integrated manner is an ideal mechanism for the survival of entrepreneurs in order to strengthen high competitiveness. This is because, entrepreneurs not only managing themselves but also organizing physical resources and other humans. Even the knowledge and dominating knowledge management (human resources, organization), social, financial, accounting, human behavior, technology and many more are important to entrepreneurs.

B. Responsible

Generally, patterns of thought and behavior in entrepreneurs cannot be separated by the value of responsibility . Entrepreneurs who have a strong self-motivation are always responsible for what they were doing. Islamic Syari`at also emphasizes the element of responsibility so that they work with full commitment and cautious to avoid violating the regulations determined by the syara’. Therefore, entrepreneurs who have high value of responsibility are usually directed to the exemplary qualities such as discipline, hardworking , ethical , commitment and consistent to what is done .
The Qur'an asserts that person including the entrepreneurs is absolutely accountable with what they work for. This emphasized the words of Allah S.W.T. which means:
"Every soul is a pledge from the (evil for evil deeds) which earned"
(Al-Muddathir: 38)

According to Rafik Issa Beekun , understanding of the verse is associated with the principle of unity and equality. It can be understood that any obligation must be implemented unless clearly a conflict occurs from a moral point of regulation. For example, during the reign of Sayyidina Umar, problems arise to the people in Muslim area (Medina) when the crisis of price occurred. He sought a way to overcome this crisis. These actions were performed on the basis of responsibility as a government that prioritizes the interests of the people above themselves .
From the perspective of the Sunnah, the words of the Prophet Muhammad S.A.W., which means:

"From Mundzir bin Jarir r.a., from his father, he said: .... Whoever works for good in Islam, he earned reward of those who imitate the deed, without reducing their wages. And whoever perform the evil work, then he will get the sin, plus the sins of those who imitate the act, without reducing their sins. "

Referring to the evidence submitted, Islam emphasizes the value of responsibility to each individual Muslim. Similarly to the entrepreneurs, they are responsible for directing the activities undertaken to meet the syara’ requirements and not bring any threat to mankind. This is because; they will be question with what they have done on land in the akhirat.

C. Self-Confidence

Self-confidence is part of an important value that entrepreneurs should have. Practically, these values become a platform for entrepreneurs to solve wisely whatever activities. Essentially, Islam directs its followers to perform any task with full confidence, courage and with full precision. As successful Muslim entrepreneurs, they had the courage and high confidence to move forward in their fields.

This fact can be observed in the Qur'an, Allah S.A.W. says which means:

"And don’t you feel weak, and do not sorrow; in fact you are the highest (rank) if you are believers."
(Ali-`Imran: 139)

Within the meaning of the verse, Allah S.W.T. forbids Muslims from being negative such as being weak and sorrow. It is because, the believers will achieve victory as promised by Allah S.W.T. Based on that sentence, successful entrepreneurs did not let themselves from being limited with negative values which become the barriers and blocking their progress to success. Based on this self-confidence, successful Muslim entrepreneurs dared to move boldly and to take risks finding the opportunities in exploring entrepreneurship.
Value of self-confidence is also supported by al-Sunnah. Evidence can be seen from this hadith of Muhammad S.A.W. which means:

From Anas r.a., Rasulullah S.A.W. said: "When you pray, you shall truly believe in prayer (that Allah Ta'ala hear and answer). Do not pray with the words:" God, if you Noble, give me! Because Allah Ta'ala is not forced to meet a prayer."

According to evidences, successful entrepreneurs are individuals who have the courage and confidence towards Allah S.W.T in implementing mua’amalah activities. Therefore, it can prevent them from relying solely on others without working diligently. According to Western scholars such as Ivan Burnell , to produce confidence value in people including entrepreneurs will produce a positive value in them to respect and believe that they themselves are important. It is so important because people not only manage solely on physical aspects but it includes emotional and mental. Hence, self-confidence is part of the fundamental values in successful entrepreneurs to act with more maturity. According to Meredith , the higher entrepreneur’s confidence is in themselves, the greater confidence and their willingness to try something that others viewed as a risk. Specifically, those who have a high value of self-confidence have the ability to judge accurately.

-Abu Rushd-

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